NBA Free Agency: Lakers-Spurs re-engage in Kawhi Trade Talk; Deal could land LeBron
What's the Story?
In case you didn't know
Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs have been at loggerheads pretty much all through this past season. The 2-time Defensive Player of the Year believes the team had misdiagnosed his right quad injury. Meanwhile, the team believed it had done its bit and said "not playing" was a personal decision taken by Kawhi and his camp. This confusion over a long period of time, eventually led to Kawhi demanding a trade out of San Antonio.
Heart of the matter
In a report published by ESPN, co-authored by Ramona Shelbourne, Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, the Lakers could acquire Kawhi if they were to offer the Spurs a deal they could not refuse. Tania Ganguli, the Lakers' beat writer at the LA times, confirmed the discussions between the two franchise and also reported that the call was productive.
Earlier in the day, the trio of ESPN's writers had reported that the LA franchise is under tremendous pressure to land Kawhi because of LeBron James' time constraints. The 4-time league MVP, who has to make his decision to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers or become a free agent by late Friday night, does not want to be the first and only superstar to commit to the team. The Cavaliers did their part of attempting to trade for Kawhi with a call but with reports suggesting that Leonard would sign in LA either way when he becomes a free-agent in 2019, that discussion didn't last long.
ESPN further reported that if the Lakers were to land the Spurs' 2-time All-NBA superstar, a free-agent agreement with LeBron was imminent. Another big part of ESPN's report was that LeBron doesn't want to wait deep into July like he did previously in 2010 and 2014, and wants to make his decision early and quick in July.
Reports have suggested and there are growing concerns inside LeBron's camp that Paul George would stay in Oklahoma City, which makes the next couple of days (Thursday and Friday) critical for the purple-and-gold franchise.
Kawhi's eagerness to sign in LA irrespective of the team he is traded has forced the Spurs, who were earlier reported to be not interested in trading Kawhi to the Lakers or any team in the West for that matter. Nonetheless, it would have to be a monster package offered by the Lakers to convince the Spurs, one that might have to include future stars like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, maybe even Julius Randle (Lakers extended the qualifying offer to Julius on Wednesday making him a restricted Free-Agent) in a sign-and-trade and draft picks..
According to the ESPN's report, other franchises have not found the Spurs to be in a rush to make a deal with them ready to deal with the worst case of trying to fix the relationship with their superstar, something which hasn't gone down too well so far. The report also states that Kawhi has made it quite clear that he does not wish to enter the team's locker room again at the AT&T Center.
The drama of NBA Free Agency has begun. Stay tuned to Sportskeeda for the latest.